Sober Summer

It is July 17th and 116 days sober.  The summer is going too fast.  The beginning was terrific, but now I’m finding myself in a lull.

I’ve come uncomfortably close to drinking the past two weeks.  Once (or a couple days) when we were up in Tawas for the 4th of July and again when my BFF Debbie came down to visit me.

I’m so thankful that I didn’t drink and start that cycle again.

Why am I walking so close to the edge?

The answer is simple.  The past two weeks have been insane, and this week is too.  Between being out of town, present for my dad for his procedure, dealing with some of my own health appointments and getting a kid ready for camp and myself ready to join him this week has left me completely spent!

Too much to do and too much that’s not getting done.   I am not meditating, not reading, writing and connecting like I should, not exercising regularly, and not attending meetings— NONE so far this summer.  

The last one bugs me the most.  I thought I’d get back to the noon meetings during summer vacation, but I haven’t been to one yet!  It seems that every day there is something else going on and it just keeps getting put on the back burner.

I am leaving tomorrow morning for scout camp, so the meetings will have to wait.  I will be able to get grounded reading, writing, exercising and meditating at camp.

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Triple Digits: Highs and Lows, and the Waiting Game

Life is filled with highs and lows.  I used to use it all as an excuse to drink.

Promotion?  Celebrate!  Stressful day? Drink it away!  Upcoming nerve racking appointment or procedure?  Drink!  Hanging with the girls?  Cheers!

It was all an excuse to drink.  I’m thankful that this isn’t my life right now.  The crutch which can hold you deep within its grasp is non-existent to me right now– and I couldn’t be more grateful.

Lots of highs this past week

We spent last week up north with family.  It was tiring, but nice.  It was the week of the 4th of July.  We got new beds for the cottage (sleeping is SO much better!), rented a pontoon boat (SO much fun!) and the weather could not have been better.  We went to Luzerne, after not visiting for about 2 years.  We got to visit dad and my kids stayed the night with him and got to ride the quads.   Hubby and I got in 2 decent bike rides, which was nice.

Lots of lows too

The anniversary of my mom’s death was on July 3rd– always a difficult day.  This is the day we rented a boat, so I guess it was a mixed bag.  We were thankful to be with family and having a great time.

I was trying to forget about real life up north, but my dad is having a long heart procedure today (Monday July 9th) and I have an appointment with a hematologist tomorrow, which I’ve been anxious and dreading.  It all was in the back of my mind.  And sadly, on the 4th I almost threw in my sobriety towel.  I would have thrown away over 100 days!  My dad had our kids and hubby and sister and I went to a karaoke bar and I felt like drinking.   I was the DD and did not drink at all.  I still had fun, so I suppose it was a success, but I still can’t believe that I almost listened to that witch Betsy!  Thought she was dead already!

The waiting game 

Oldest sister and I have been at the hospital since 6:30 am.  It’s almost noon.  Dad is half-way done with his procedure.  Things are going good so far.  I am praying hard that this will fix his afib.  Afib is awful and when his heart is out of rhythm he can hardly breathe.

I’m running on about 3 hours of sleep.  Slept at dad’s last night so that we could get him here nice and early.  Couldn’t sleep due to being in an unfamiliar place and having anxiety about today.  We lost our mom in July after she had surgery.  Can’t even imagine losing another parent right now.

I’m trying to live in the moment, relax and not play a horror story in my head that hasn’t happened.  That’s easier said than done.

I’d just like today to be over and everything to be ok.  Even better after my appointment is done tomorrow.  Hopefully they will give me an oral iron supplement– or worse case iron infusions.  I hope they don’t need to test my bone marrow or find blood cancer! (there I go again, making up a horror story– nonsense!!!).

Ok– just wanted to give a quick update.

Overall this has been my favorite summer so far.  Besides that one small spell, I haven’t been in a funk and am in a good place physically, spiritually and mentally.  Today is day 108 and if you would have told me a few years ago that I would have a summer of no drinking and it would be my happiest summer yet, I would have told you to shut the front door!

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Day 96, Let’s Not Get Funky

My spirits were up yesterday and it seems as though (at least for now) I am out of that funk!  Perhaps it was just a grouchy mood on Monday recovering from the crazy & somewhat annoying weekend.

After I wrote, I meditated, took the dog for a walk and then did a short running workout on the treadmill.  I took time after running to do some leg lifts– working different muscle groups.  I showered and then called my dad, prepared to head to my grandma’s with both kids to visit.  Because of my uncle’s birthday on Thursday, my dad switched his days and was not at my grandma’s– SO there wasn’t a great reason for me to go (THANK YOU UNIVERSE!!).

The kids and I needed to eat, and my lunch stash is meager so we headed out and had lunch at Olga’s.  Afterwards, we went looking for a desk for my youngest’s room and got a few groceries.

It was an easy evening, leftovers for dinner so I didn’t need to cook.  The kids did their chores and picked up the house.

When hubby got home, we ate and then ran up to Performance Bicycle to see if they had the bike he wanted for his birthday (his bike sucks, he has been riding our oldest’s when we go on rides).  When we were coming home I thought I spotted a fox in the next door neighbor’s yard during the split second that we drove by.  I walked to the back of our yard when we got home, not really expecting to see anything.  I was pleasantly surprised!

 

After watching the fox until it noticed me and ran away (there was actually 2, so we think they have a den really close and babies), we went for a 12 mile bike ride.  I hadn’t ridden my bike for several days and that probably contributed to my funk.

We didn’t get home until after 9:30 and the ride was cool and exhilarating– exactly what I needed.

My mood over the course of the day was happy and light.  MUCH better from the pissiness I felt on Monday, and sporadically since Friday.

Setting Limits

I don’t like feeling taken advantage of and was put in a situation last week that made me feel like this.  I had a (high maintenance) mom ask when my oldest could “hang out” with her son.  I told her that Wednesday or Thursday of this week would be good and was curious about “where” they would hang out.  The kid isn’t always the easiest kid (he is the emotionally impaired kid from scouts) but what is worse is his parents who are super anal, let him call all shots, beckon to his call and whim and are just downright anxious and annoying.  USUALLY when the parents call to set up a play day (or hang out session, now that they’re teenagers), they want to do it at our house (it’s easier for them).  Well this time she didn’t even ask where– she just asked if she could drop her kid off at 11.  OK– at our house it is!!

It probably wouldn’t have bothered me as much if I didn’t have to deal with him and his dad over the weekend.  They can be difficult to be with.  The way they argue back and forth and the way this kid behaves for his parents sometime is downright appalling.

I need to learn how to say no and set limits.  I set up this hang out session because we will be up north next week, the following week my dad is having surgery and the week after that is scout camp.  So REALLY this was the best time to squeeze it in.  And as frustrating as it is for the mom to just expect me to host, it really overall is easier for me.  So I sucked it up– but think it definitely contributed to my pissiness.

Medical Woas

Another factor that I believe has contributed to my funk is my health– and the fact that my dad is having surgery on his heart in a couple weeks.

My dad has had afib for over a year now.  He’s had his heart shocked back into rhythm several times— which always worked well short term.  Afib is awful and he really doesn’t know how he is going to feel day-to-day and moment-to-moment.  He is going in on July 9th to have an ablation done on his heart.  Basically they cauterize the damaged parts (which they won’t know how extensive the damage is until they get in there).  It’s an 8 hour procedure and pretty much freaking me out.  I lost my mom in July after a surgical procedure.  I’m also scared that he will go through this and it won’t be effective.  I think I have a pretty good mindset about it though.  I am SO GRATEFUL that he has something that CAN be fixed, and not terminal cancer with a short life expectancy.  I’m also putting 100% faith into God and asking him to watch over my dad during this time.  BUT I would be lying if I said that it wasn’t in the back of my mind pretty much all of the time.

I had a wellness checkup last week.  It went pretty well, but I had my doctor follow up on my anemic blood work results (for over a year now, the blood work results from my rheumatologist always comes back as anemic and she always tells me to follow up with my doctor– which I never do– until now).  I figured I just needed to be more consistent with taking my iron supplement and probably needed to be better about getting more iron in my diet.

Well, she wants me to see a hematologist and said I might have a “bone marrow” problem.  Not sure exactly what that means, but the mere thought of checking my bone marrow makes me sick to my stomach (I mean, they have to go through the bone to get to it..).

So that’s been a bit of a stressor and I’m not sure why but since that visit I have been completely exhausted, requiring at least 8 hours of sleep plus a daily 30 minute afternoon nap.  Now I was anemic, working full time and getting up at 5 am to workout several times per week and survived without this exhaustion.  The only thing I can figure is that this “problem” has gotten into my head and it’s more of a mental thing.   My appointment with the hematologist isn’t until July 10th– the day after my dad’s surgery.  That is going to be one fun week!

Ok.. all that yuckiness unloaded feels pretty good.  Today isn’t going to be a ton of fun.  It is raining and supposed to rain all day.  The teen’s naughty friend is getting dropped off in a couple hours.  Later I have to take both boys to get their physical for camp.  Fun fun fun!

Tomorrow, Friday and the weekend will be good.  HOT and sunny, I plan to bike ride, swim and read while floating in the pool.  We are going up north next week to celebrate the 4th.  It will be fun and festive and nice to hang out with my dad up there.

That’s all I’ve got!  I’m so glad I unloaded 🙂

Peace Out ❤

Summer Funk & Step 4

The most useful insight that I ever received from a therapist is that fact that I tend to get depressed during times when I’m not working. This can be as little as the 4 day mid-winter break or during the several weeks of summer break.  I didn’t realize how true it was when she suggested it more than a year ago– but have often thought about it since.

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The summer of 2016 was particularly brutal.  I wanted to stop drinking (see my gosh awful blog posts from back then!) but had no idea how.  The mere thought of attending an AA meeting (God forbid!) drove me to tears.  My posts back then consisted of, “I drank last night, probably going to drink tonight but I’m going to stop next week.”  The depression that summer was awful.  I remember days when just getting myself to shower was a large feat.

Before this summer break, I thought a lot about that depressing summer and would often brainstorm how I would combat any dark feelings that come my way.

Easy peasy.  I’m a changed women, after all.  In 2 years I’ve learned and grown so much– spiritually, mentally, physically… you name it.   I will get up and read and write in the sunshine on the deck.  I will walk my dog and ride my bike daily.  I will do small chores each day, like weeding one flower bed and deep cleaning one room– keeping tasks simple and underwhelming.   I will attend AA meetings, find a sponsor and work these steps.  Summer 2018 is going to be the happiest yet!!

Not so fast.  The funk found me and has me in a choke hold.  I’m not sure how much I want to get into it.  Today is Tuesday and I think it started around Friday with a series of events.

Friday we planned to go up north with scouts.  Scout trips can be difficult sometimes.   Out of the 5 boys, 2 are autistic and 1 is emotionally impaired.

So #1 I was anticipating a weekend with increased stress and little sleep.  #2 it was our cabin we were staying at so I had the added pressure of hosting.  #3 I kind of wanted to head up early on Friday to make sure all was ok up there.  Hubby wanted to drive together so he wanted me to wait until he got home to leave around 6.  SO, I cleaned up and wasted all day Friday waiting for him.  He ended up having an emergency issue at work to work through and was still there at 6 (and he works an hour from home).  So, to avoid the scout troop from arriving long before us, I headed up in my car packed with the kids and dog.  I was very annoyed that I waited all day and then had to head up on my own anyways.

The weekend went pretty well despite some icky weather on Saturday.  Lucky for us, it didn’t pour all day, just misted lightly.  We were able to take the trips we wanted and the boys even got to swim for a little while on Saturday evening (in the cold mist– not sure HOW they do it!).  BUT, I did get very little sleep so I was exhausted by arriving home Sunday evening.

Monday (yesterday) was hubby’s birthday and the day kind of just SUCKED.   I got up at a decent time (8am) and journaled.  Then I meditated and did a recovery yoga routine (my body was tired and sore).  All sounds good right?   I had to take my oldest to the specialist for a routine check on his diabetes.  We normally are there for about an hour, but the medical assistant, nurse and doctor were extra chatty and long winded.  We were there for 2 hours.  Then we went to Kroger to get stuff to make for hubby’s birthday dinner, cards for him and a couple small gifts.  My boys were so annoying in the store.  Bickering about every little thing.  I told them no electronics when we get home and my teenager immediately started arguing that (what did I do?  what did I do?  what did I do?)  UGH!!!!  I was EXHAUSTED by the time we got home and squeezed in a 20 minute nap before making dinner.  The boys made a cute scavenger hunt for hubby to find his present.  While the evening was far more successful than the day, I still felt tired, sad and crummy.  It was after 8 by the time we had dinner, cake and did presents and I was about ready for bed.

I got a lot of good sleep last night but still feel rather funky.  I’m supposed to go visit my dad and grandma today, but just feel like bailing.  I should (and probably will) go over there for at least a couple of hours, and will hopefully feel better afterwards.

I got up this morning, journaled and began my 4th step work (something I’ve been putting off for a long time).   I made a small dent, but it’s a start.

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I think this funk will pass and may be a little bit of PAWS (post acute withdrawal syndrome) coming into play.  On a very happy note, today is day 95!!  93 days was my previous record and I think that may subconsciously making my inner alcoholic (Betsy) scream and wince.  I am really excited to reach triple digits.

It’s almost 10:00 am and I need to get a move on.  I’m going to meditate and then walk Jules.  I also want to start running again– maybe on the treadmill because Jules is the reason I stopped.  He has been so lazy and sluggish lately and really brings down my running workouts.  I’ve realized that walking him needs to be seperate from my running workouts.  Lately, even in the early cool air he tends to get sluggish around 1-2 miles.  I may try to squeeze in a workout after walking or might just wait until tomorrow and plan on a bike ride later instead.

I wanted to write about my funk and step 4.  I really can’t believe that the summer funk found me this time around, I thought I had done everything to steer clear from it!  I DO feel better already after writing this though.  I’m also going to put together a list of things that I want to accomplish around the house this summer and put it into small manageable tasks.  I have been feeling overwhelmed with what needs to be done and think that this will help make me feel better and under control.

Peace out ❤ ❤ ❤

Day 90 * 3 Months * Hot Diggity

I’ve been meaning to write, but haven’t felt motivated.  I wanted to do a quick check in at day 90.

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Life. Is. So. Good.  School is out for the summer.  The pool is refreshing and steps from my doorwall.  The garden is thriving and the hot days are lazy.  The highlight of my days are after dinner when hubby and I typically take a bike ride.  I pledged to ride 150 miles this month to raise money to fight pediatric cancer.  So far I’ve ridden 105.

I haven’t been reading or writing as much as I want to.  I’ve been waking up later than I would like and hastily chugging coffee before heading out to daily errands/appointments.  I’m trying to get caught up with things but think it will slow down soon.

Cravings and Urges 

We went up north last Friday to relax and celebrate our 17th anniversary.  I thought I would be fine.  After all, I thought I mastered staying sober at the cottage.  It sure took some practice, but by the end of last summer, I was used to and enjoyed going to bed sober there.

Shortly after arriving, Betsy started chirping in my ear about how nice it would be to relax with hubby and some drinks. After all, celebrating our anniversary was a joyous occasion and a good excuse to get wasted.  I listened to her enough to bring it up to hubby.  His response was:

“What day are you on?”  and “No.  We’ll get some good snacks and yummy NA drinks to enjoy.”

I know that he would probably have enjoyed a few beers and kind of wanted him to agree to a few drinks.  I’m thankful that he is smart and cares about me enough to not contribute to a relapse.  Let’s get real, it would not have been a night or two of drinks.  It would have been a binge for days or weeks and probably would have taken me months to get back into a total abstinence pattern.  It’s kind of frightening to think that I came that close to throwing away 83 days.

The weekend was good.   We bought 2 hard kayaks and 1 tandem blow up kayak at Walmart.  The blow up one deflated and the hard ones ended up getting water on the inside of the boat (not where you sit.. but on the inside where you can’t reach into– pretty much the worse design ever!).  Needless to say, it was a long and treacherous day of kayaking and we ended up taking them all right back to the store.

We are going back up tomorrow for the weekend and taking the scout troop with us. It should be an eventful weekend…

Self Care

I had my first wellness visit in the longest time yesterday.  It felt good to honestly say that I don’t smoke or drink at all, and that my worst vice is 3+ cups of daily coffee.  Tomorrow morning first thing, I get to have my very first mammogram done!  Blood work from my rheumatologist always shows that I’m anemic and she always wants me to follow up with my dr. So, I did that yesterday and now I have to go to a hematologist.  All of these visits are kind of nerve wracking to anticipate– but at least if there is a problem then I’ll have a chance to get it treated.   Maybe if they can fix my anemia I won’t be so tired sometimes (I am just waking up from a 3:00 siesta as I write this.. my 30 minute afternoon naps do wonders).

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Sooooo..  that is all.   This is probably my most boring and dull post– but I wanted to check in, especially at day 90– a milestone day.  The longest stretch of sobriety that I have ever is 93 days and I am SUPER excited to surpass that and to reach triple digits!

 

 

Bad Days and Belly Laughs

Bad days are inevitable.  Your alarm clock doesn’t go off, the dog puked all over the living room, the light bulb in the bathroom burned out, you forgot your lunch at home, and sometimes the bad events just keep happening.  You are left shaking your head and thinking, “gosh what horrible thing did I do to deserve a day like today?”

This past Sunday was like that for me.  My biggest priority was getting in a bike ride, and I really wanted to get in at least 15 miles.  I’ve pledged to ride 150 miles for the month of June and by Sunday I needed to ride 13 miles to stay on track with my goal.  I took Friday off of work, but wasn’t able to ride at all on Friday or Saturday.  By Sunday I was super ancy about it and knew that a long ride would make me feel better.

The hubs and I planned on riding about 8 stopping at a park to have a picnic lunch and then riding back.  I packed a delicious lunch and we got ready to go.  Then, it poured.  It had rained a lot on Saturday, but Sunday was supposed to be dry until the evening.  In fact, there was a 0% chance of rain around the time that it was pouring out.

It kept raining, so we did the next best thing.  Set out for pizza at Aubrees, one of our favorite pizzarias– and one that we haven’t been to in ages.  We were looking at the bright side looking forward to pizza and then some shopping afterwards.

We pulled up and the building was empty, the grass was overgrown and there was a For Sale sign in the window.  Aubrees was gone– no gourmet pizza for us.

We drove around and stopped at a Japanese restaurant.  The sushi was good, but they served me some tea that had a fishy taste and the chicken was extremely tough and dry.  They didn’t have silverware— just chopsticks. Hubby goes out with diverse friends from work and has become good at eating with chopsticks.  I felt like a clutz continuously dropping my sushi.  To make matters worse, the servers had sat down for a break directly facing me.  I felt like such a fool on display.  I wanted to throw the chop sticks across the room.

The day continued to test me, with little annoyances here and there.  By the afternoon things were starting to look up.  I went to the grocery while hubby went to Home Depot.  He came out with a very large tree and some nice flowering bushes (all at a great discount price!).  You can’t go wrong with planting new greenery!

The best part of the day was that by the time the afternoon rolled around, the rain was gone.  We ended up getting in a 12.6 mile bike ride after all.  By the end of the day I was only .3 miles from my goal for that day.

Sooooo.. moral of the story is that bad days happen.  When I was telling my little sister about my awful day, she pointed out something really good.  She said, “Even though it was a horrible day and the weather was awful, not once did I hear you mention Betsy– or wanting to drink.”  She was right!  I went to a couple different stores that carried liquor and wine and everytime I passed a bottle, I silently hissed at it (because I hate it, and wish that the stores would get rid of it.  It’s no good and causes nothing but problems).  It’s a blessing to be jonesin for my bike when I’m having a terrible day instead of a bottle of wine  ❤

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Belly Laughs

Have you ever tried flossing?  I’m not talking about the way to clean in between your teeth.  There’s a new dance move that is a hit among kids everywhere.  It’s from one of the popular video games.  It looks simple, but can actually be quite challenging for those of us who are coordinationally compromised.

After days of practice, I finally almost had it!  I went to bed last night but decided to get one more dance session in in front of my mirror.  I should have tried doing it in front of a mirror before, because it was super helpful and I was flossing like a boss in no time!!  Now that I had the moves down, I had to try flossing fast!  I was admiring my form in the mirror when I saw my 9 year old watching me.  He had decided to see what I was doing and caught me flossing like a mad woman.  We both roared with laughter and couldn’t stop.

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It probably isn’t that funny to read about– I think you had to be there.  I wouldn’t have been there if I had been drinking.  This is just one of the many benefits of sobriety.  Being present, having genuine laughs (especially with your kid), being silly all while being organic– all of it is so simple, yet so very important.

So that’s my week in a nutshell.  It’s the final week of school for me and the boys.  The last week is crazy yet wonderful.  I can’t believe it’s the end of the year already.  The school years fly by.  If you have little ones, don’t blink.  They grow up so fast! Be present and don’t forget to laugh ❤

Day 77

Friday June 8, 2018

These past few weeks have been pretty crazy.  Between work (end of the year tasks to accomplish), end of the year concerts, ceremonies and other commitments/picnics/parties, I feel like I’m on an endless merry-go-round.  I actually took a sick day today #1 for my mental health and #2 so that I could attend my son’s mini society market at school.  It is so nice to be off on this beautiful Friday– especially knowing that next week is the last week of school.  The last week or two is always my favorite.  I almost don’t want it to end because it seems that the moment summer vacation begins it is over and time for the busy fall.  I just want to sit here for a long while, enjoying the early June days 🙂

Today is Day 77.  Betsy has been yipping in my ear lately.  I’ve held her at bay, but thinking of drinking this often is very unsettling.  I really need to get to some meetings after next week and work on finding a sponsor.  I’ve also been thinking about losing people lately.  I can’t say with confidence that if I lost an immediate family member that I can remain sober.  I hate writing that, but it is truly how I feel.  THIS is how I would like to feel:  I can’t control what happens to me or my loved ones all the time.  God has a plan and I don’t know what that entails, but know that he will help me get through the tough times— always.  The next time I lose someone that I love, I can grieve without alcohol– or I can pick up the bottle again.  Drinking will not make it better– in fact, it will just make everything so much harder.   I know that during the toughest times of my life, God will help me make it through without picking up a drink, I trust him. 

I feel like because I don’t fully trust myself in that situation– I need to work on my recovery harder.  To me, that looks like going to meetings, making connections and finding a sponsor.

BUT.. regardless of those random thoughts, I am enjoying life very much right now.  We’ve been able to take 10 + mile bike rides at least a few times per week.  I’ve also been swimming as much as the weather will allow.  I’ve been doing more walking than running and know that I really need to up my running game.

I had a bi yearly visit with my rheumatologist last week, and it went well.  It was a little bit of a wake up call actually.  I felt grateful as I saw a woman in the waiting room who look to be about my age, but used a walker to get around.  In the lab area, I spotted another woman with a cane who also was in my age range, but was super slow to get up and move around.

I also felt grateful as the diligent Dr. Qazi questioned me about previous ailments.  My knees?  No pain.  My shoulders?  No pain.  My feet?  Ehhh… somewhat painful when I first get up or if I’m wearing the wrong shoes.. but I get around fine and can run on them so I feel LUCKY and grateful.. they are my biggest source of discomfort but I’m not complaining— they aren’t holding me back.  My psoriasis?  Oooh I forgot I had the big red blotchy patches all over my midsection for awhile.  No psoriasis for awhile now!  My hands?  They’re fine.  Fingers?  Fine.  It felt good to tell her that it is nothing for me to walk/run 5K before work and then do a 10 mile bike ride afterwards.  And work?  Yep she asked about that too– I can manage my full work duties without my Rheumatoid Arthritis interfering.

I left her office feeling So. Incredibly. Grateful.

I wonder how much the 77 days of no poison is impacting the absence of the symptoms I had experienced in the past?  I’m not going to worry about the answer, but just keep doing what I’m doing!

So there.  That’s that.  I hope you all are doing well and having a wonderful June so far ❤

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Summer Reads 

 

The Epiphany

A natural consequence of losing my mom suddenly was becoming much more spiritual and aware of unearthly phenomenon.

During the summer that she passed, I was in my backyard scrolling through Facebook when I saw a post from my cousin that was a picture of small purple flower with the caption “Does anyone know what this is?”

I don’t know many flowers, hardly the basics, but a fleeting thought passed through my brain “crokus.”  It was so weird and random and I had no idea where it came from.

I looked at the comments and sure enough, it was a crokus.  I determined that my mom was with me, in spirit, and had whispered the name into my ear (she was a flower guru).  What else could it have been?

I’m also pretty sure that my angel mom had something to do with an enormous epiphany that I experienced shortly after the crokus incident.

About a month after she passed it was a Saturday morning in early August and we had plans to pack up and head up north for the week.  Usually when we’re heading up north I would be in a frenzy cleaning the house, getting the pets ready, watering the flowers, etc.  This morning was different.  For some reason I had this odd desire to go for a long bike ride (totally abnormal for me to do the day of a trip– but I went with it).

About a mile in, I had a vivid and random thought cross my mind.  “We need to buy the ranch.”

My in laws had two houses, a farmhouse that they had fixed up and an adjacent ranch that they were now getting ready to put on the market.  They bought the ranch over 20 years ago and had continued living there for the couple of years that it took them to fix up the farmhouse and my hubby had mentioned a couple of times throughout the years that maybe we should buy the ranch.

My answer was always a firm no.  I wanted our forever home to be a more modern and open home and wanted to stay in the city we lived in.  The ranch was small and boxy and the yard was too big to maintain– I liked our neat and immaculate city lot.

So.. when the thought and certainty of buying it came across my mind, I felt ecstatic.  I rode the rest of the trip with an enormous amount of energy and excitement.  I was so pumped to get home and tell hubby that we should buy it.  It is the best definition and feeling of epiphany that I have ever, and probably will ever, had.  I thought about it all the way home.

Hubby was less than excited when I ran through the door exclaiming my plans to relocate our current life.  He wasn’t sure if we should do it– or if we could actually afford it.  So we spent the next few weeks running the numbers and talking to our bank, adding up all of the expenses, comparing pros and cons, etc.

The trip up north after my epiphany was intriguing and sometimes agonizing.  I thought about the possibility of moving to the ranch constantly– and couldn’t stop wondering if we would actually call it our home or not.  I also wondered a great deal about why I had the epiphany.

Was this a premonition that something bad was going to happen to me?  Was moving close to my inlaws insurance that my hubby and kids would be ok and taken care of?  Or would something happen to my hubby or one of the kids?  I had just suddenly lost my mom a month beforehand, so anxious thoughts of losing my loved ones unexpectedly were a common occurrence– and now I can see how these thoughts were normal given the time frame.

It ended up being a go and we moved the necessities in during Labor Day weekend, 2014.  Moving in right before the start of school was one of the craziest things we’ve ever done.  Our boys would be starting new schools, I would be going back to work and we would need to get the old house ready to sell– and we had a pretty young puppy.

Time sped by, like it tends to do and we had our old house on the market within a month.  By November we had sold our old house and closed on the ranch.

It is 4 years later and I still think about the epiphany occasionally.  I find this house incredibly peaceful.  Everytime I walk through the kitchen and see deer in the backyard– or on the deck watching the small animals and birds in the yard– I am at total peace.  The house isn’t great– it is old and boxy and some of it is outdated.  But it is a sprawling ranch on a good chunk of land and I completely love it here ❤

 

Will
Watching fish in the pond never gets old
deer
Seeing deer hanging out gives you a feeling of serenity
cardinal
Cardinals in the yard always bring peace and comfort

zoemilo

swimming

backyard

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Killed Betsy 

The long weekend!

Ahhhhhh!  On one hand it seems like it took forever to get here, on the other hand it came so quickly.  It seems like yesterday it was September & I had just started really enjoying the pool (one unexpected joy of sobriety).  When we closed it, I silently vowed to count down every month till we’d be opening it again & promised myself I would use it.  

Like the morning in early September I took off work.  I had a 504 meeting at my oldest’s school.  It was quick & afterwards I went for a walk in the hot September sun.  Then I jumped in the pool for a refreshing swim.  By the time I got to work at lunchtime, I was in such a great mood.  Still energized from the morning of fun (OH if only every workday could be 1/2 a day 🤗).

Or the night hubby and I took a walk in the muggy heat.  We got home & took a dip in the dark.  Swimming in the dark always creeped me out— but this was great & the sky was beautifully lit with millions of stars. 

As we closed the pool in late September, I promised myself to fully take advantage of the water this year, like the entire summer, unlike years before when I would just float on my giant raft complaining of getting splashed & not going in because it’s “too cold.”

And so I will.

As I wake up this Saturday morning I’m filled with anticipation for all of the things this weekend has in store for me. House chores, gardening, fires & bbq, beach party, bike rides & family.  Lots of stuff to fit into 3 days!

One thing I’m not thinking much about is drinking.  On a holiday where beer is synonymous with the pool & bbq, I take this as a Godsend.  

Anytime the thought of drinking has crossed my mind I am immediately blessed with thoughts of how great it is to NOT be drinking.  For me, the absence of alcohol makes my life far richer than the presence of it.  It adds not one good thing to my life, but takes away many.

Oooooh if I could just bottle up these thoughts & save them for when I am tempted in the future, I would in a heartbeat!  While it appears Betsy (my inner alcoholic) is expired forever,  I know that really she is off on a holiday somewhere doing push-ups, waiting for the perfect time to make a great comeback.

So, as I sit in the May heat, leisurely having coffee on the deck watching the nature around me, I am grateful for so much.  But more than anything, I am grateful for today, Day 64. 

One day at a time.

The Universe and Living the Good Life

I’m listening to a terrific new book called, The Universe has your Back, by Gabrielle Bernstein.  Being a believer in the power of the universe, it is highly interesting and intriguing to me.

On Wednesday, I was eating dinner outside by myself.  I started talking to the Universe pondering what would make me happy.  I told her that I wanted to feel more love in my heart and be closer to my family members.  I wanted to have a full life filled with people and love.

A little while later while I was cleaning up inside, I heard my niece Jessica outside. She is staying with my in laws who live behind us and my mother-in-law brings her over occasionally to play on our trampoline and slide.  I was going to keep going on with my business, but Jessica saw me through the window and wanted to come and say hi.  They ended up coming in and staying awhile.  My MIL talked my ear off about what is going on with my SIL (who is going through an ugly divorce complete with a PPO).

She talked my ear off, but in the end thanked me for listening and told me she loved me and I gave my love back.  We have a decent relationship but aren’t super close– there’s a distance between us.  Maybe it’s all on my account, I’m not sure.  I’ve always kind of felt like according to her I’m not good enough for her golden son.  This could be 100% in my head, and I acknowledge that and that I have some walls up.  But it was a nice evening where we talked while the kids played.

Later that night, I thought about my conversation with the Universe at dinner and it dawned on me.  The Universe Listened.  I was pumped!  If conversing with and believing in the Universe had this much power, then anything is possible.

A New Name

The Devil Drinks Vodka has been my handle since this blog was born two years ago.  For awhile now, I’ve wanted a different name. As this journey progresses, my life has become less about darkness and alcohol and more about living and wellness.  I need to get rid of the words Devil and Vodka.

I am patiently waiting for the perfect name!  I have a couple ideas and am waiting for a sign from the Universe to tell me which one is IT.   IT has yet to come to me, so I wait.

Wellness and Feeling Alive

For the first time in my life, last week I bought a new car.   Brand new, 2019.  I picked out the model, the color, the interior and the specks.  I couldn’t be more excited!

We picked it up on Monday night and after we got home, I had a TON of excited energy.  It was kind of late (after 9pm), but I wanted to go on a bike ride.  I was leery about riding so late (knowing I wouldn’t be able to get to sleep for a while afterwards) but went anyways.  Hubby went with me and we didn’t get home till after 10:30pm.

I love love love nighttime riding.  Especially this time of year, the spring smells are heavenly and the cool air whipping through my hair make me feel so alive.

As I was riding and feeling so vibrant, I thought about alcohol for a millisecond.  I thought about how I used to drink it to celebrate when I was super happy and how I used to drink it to drown my sorrows when I was sad.  Getting a new car would certainly be a reason to toast and chug down glass after glass of wine.  I felt so incredibly grateful for being where I am at– picking up my bike at 9pm NOT a glass of poison.  THIS is living, living the good life.

That is my week in a nutshell.  Today is Day 58 and I am grateful for every sober day.

Peace and Love ❤